The swearing was followed by a clatter of weapons and heavy steps.
"This voice…" Helial frowned. He had recognized that voice, how could he not.
"Who the fuck is shouting?" swore Snowflake, annoyed by all the racket.
Through Perception Helial saw about 50 Auras in the distance and one closer by. They were all very dense, especially the one in the front. All of a sudden, he broke out in a cold sweat.
"Snowflake, take Lumia and run! There are more than 50 Goblins between the First and Second Phase coming this way, if they catch us we're dead!"
Snowflake saw the anguished look on Helial's face and immediately put the girl on his back. It wasn't the right time to ask questions.
"You see what I'm reduced to…" grumbled Snowflake, starting to run as fast as he could.
Helial was about to follow Snowflake, when someone suddenly ran out of the woods.
The Master quickly glanced behind his back before shouting: "There's no time to explain, run!"
The boy did not need to be told twice and followed Vidio, running at breakneck speed after Snowflake.
"What the fuck's happening?" swore Helial, "why are you being followed by all these Goblins? What did you do?"
With a dark face, Vidio replied: "As if it were my fault! They attacked the outpost. We were just one step away from victory, but then Caesar came… Do I need to say more? He razed the outpost to the ground with one hand, and with the other he decimated our army. Even Commander Pausan died."
Vidio gritted his teeth, while a hint of sadness flashed in his eyes.
A tough guy, but not a bad one. He did not deserve such a death.
Vidio looked at Snowflake and the girl riding him: "Is that your sister? And what's that supposed to be? A steed?"
"Your mama's a steed, old fart! How dare you?!" snorted Snowflake.
Vidio ignored him and said to Helial: "Let's go in the mountains, we'll be safer there, perhaps. If we'd face them in a frontal attack, I couldn't guarantee your safety. Maybe not even mine."
Helial nodded and did not question him. He had already understood the situation.
Vidio was running from a large group of Goblins, all bloodthirsty and with bad intentions. They had to take cover. Even though Helial and Snowflake were able to fight one Phase higher than their own, all those Goblins were too much to take on. Plus, Helial had to protect Lumia as well.
If I could evoke that power one more time…, thought Helial.
If only it were that simple.
The power he had used inside the Dungeon against the Boss had been truly terrifying. Not even him knew exactly where it came from. But that power had to be somewhere inside his Soul.
While he kept running, he tried to sense it, but it looked as if it were gone. Helial indulged in a bitter smile and shook his head.
I don't know if I would be able to use it again, after so little time…
Where did all that strength he had felt in the Dungeoun come from? How could such terrifying and evil energy reside inside him? He felt Curse of the Demon with his finger, strapped behind his back.
He was running with all that weight on his shoulders without even noticing.
Before, your body has taken serious damage and Body of the Qilin levelled up, but you didn't notice. How could you run so fast otherwise?
But now was not the time to ask this kind of questions. Even if he were stronger, he could not face more than one enemy in the Second Phase at the same time anyway.
"There might be more coming, don't stop", shouted Vidio.
Helial had kept Perception activated and had noticed something.
"Stop!" he shouted, stopping dead.
Snowflake and Vidio gave him a puzzled look. The cat stopped dead, minding to not unsaddle his precious pet human. The Master seemed to have suddenly noticed something and rolled on the side.
Where he was standing a second before, now there was a giant crater.
"Damn human, you won't survive the day", growled a Goblin in front of them. He looked much stronger than all the others Vidio had faced.
He was the Goblin Commander, a creature in the Third Phase Late grade.
Vidio immediately produced his Staff and mocked him: "Does a stupid Goblin really think to stop a Master of the Mana Congregation? Learn your place; if you kill me today the consequences will be tremendous."
The Goblin hesitated for an instant at those words, but Vidio did not miss the chance.
The Master lowered the Staff and generated a white lightning that struck the Commander in the chest.
Goblin Commander lost 1579 HP!
Snowflake stared at the Master in awe. A few seconds earlier he had used his identity to make the Goblin hesitate and now was striking with a surprise attack. He was shameless!
"If you want to fight a Master, don't complain about my bad manners!" snickered Vidio, all the more shamelessly.
Helial felt himself blush. That Master was indeed hopeless.
The blow, though, did not seem to have done serious damage to the Goblin, who had more than 30.000 HP and excellent equipment for his level.
The Commander cleaned the blood from a corner of the mouth and spat on the ground. "You humans are all the same; you disgust me. You kill each other for power, you kill your enemies, you kill your friends. Who wouldn't you be willing to kill for your own gain?"
"Commander, you are forgetting the death of one of our Kings at your hands. Our King had come to you as a guest to pacify our peoples, in name of all the men in the continent. And what did you do?"
Vidio did not waste any more valuable time in idle chat.
The Goblin Commander raised an eyebrow. Vidio had used an AoE Skill, more indicated for melee than for 1 on 1.
The Goblin did not miss the chance and chained a series of attacks.
The first Skill was going to undo the effects of Heavenly Thunderbolt. Split Earth was a Skill with very high damage, but quite slow.
Shockwave was a Skill performed with the shield. It was better to stun the opponent than to inflict damage; it had a Cast Time of a couple of seconds, unlike Split Earth that activated instantly.
The Goblin Commander meant to destabilize Vidio with Shockwave and make him lose balance, then activate the second Skill with higher damage, to finish him off in just one exchange.
The corners of the Master's mouth curled upwards. "Not bad, but far from enough."
He forcibly deleted the Skill that was half way through charging and leaped in the air, dodging Split Earth. The energy blade passed a few inched below him.
The Goblin Commander was still busy casting Shockwave and could not deactivate it anymore. The momentum of the blow could not be stopped.
Vidio produced one of the most powerful Offensive Skills he owned.
Gash in the Clouds
He raised the Staff above his head with both his hands. Suddenly, a lightning struck the weapon, but it did not explode, on the contrary, it seemed to hover above the Staff.
Vidio struck and the lightning descended relentlessly from the sky, directed against the Goblin Commander's neck.
The air seemed to deform wherever the white lightning passed. Vidio was panting; that Skill had cost him a lot of Stamina and Mana.
(A/N: Stamina is how much energy the character has left and it indicates tiredness, unlike Life (HP) and Mana (MP).)
The Goblin Commander managed to avoid the blow at his neck, but could not help being struck in the chest.
Goblin Commander lost 12304 HP!
Vidio was sneering. In just two exchanges, the Goblin Commander was left with only half of his original HP, according to his calculations.
The Goblin Commander was hurled against a tree and vomited a mouthful of blood. That Master was truly a monster. Vidio knew that the Commander was stronger than himself, and because of this he had avoided a frontal attack. Instead he had used two unforeseeable attacks to halve his HP. If he was not going to be careful, it could cost him his life.
Shit just got real. The Commander stood up and became surrounded by a reddish Aura, giving off a murderous intent in all directions.
Vidio gritted his teeth: "A Berserker."
Vidio was a Lightning Warrior, specialized in Skills that converted Mana into electricity. It was one of the most offensive and attack-oriented Classes.
The Berserker Class allowed to ignore the damage received in battle and to jump in the fray, ignoring all danger. Those who belonged to this Class had a strength increase directly proportional to the HP loss. This was the perk of the Class and that Skill was one of the most characteristic Autobuff.
You receive a Bonus on Physical Damage proportional to the lost HP.
The Goblin Commander threw the shield to the ground and wielded the weapon with two hands.
Vidio did not lose time and attacked. He could not allow the Berserker to gain the upper hand in the fight, or else he would have been at a disadvantage. He had to keep attacking if he wanted a chance to win.
"My old bones are not what they used to be", sighed the Master.
Helial looked at him, discouraged. They are not what they used to be? Once reached the First Phase, a person's lifespan increased and the body stopped ageing like that of a common mortal. At every Phase, the lifespan increased accordingly, until it reached the point where the person would not age or die because of the lapsing of time. That was Immortality.
Run on the Cumulonimbus
Several threatening-looking black clouds gathered under Vidio's feet.
Vidio took a step forward and a cloud exploded, increasing his speed tremendously.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Vidio got closer to the Goblin Commander, leaving a series of afterimages behind him.
The Goblin frowned. "Can he really be only in the Second Phase?"
Being a Commander, he was much stronger than other Goblins in the Third Phase Late stage. He could probably face someone in the Fourth Phase Early stage, with a little effort. So how could that Master of the Congregation be so strong?
Actually, as a matter of brute force, the Goblin Commander was definitely stronger than Vidio, but the latter was not looking for a direct fight and was avoiding a frontal attack any way he could.
Vidio struck the Goblin, without activating any Skill, to not waste too much Mana. An intense fight broke out between the two of them. Vidio dodged all the blows thanks to his Movement Skill.
Run on the Cumulonimbus was a Skill that exploited the power of lightnings to move at high speed and catch the opponent unprepared.
However, while Vidio was absorbed in the fight, he remembered something. He took a step back, dodging another blow from the Commander, and looked towards Helial and the others.
They were surrounded by Goblin soldiers. Snowflake and Helial were standing back to back, while the soldiers kept getting closer and closer.
Lumia was looking around, helpless and terrified.
"Shit!" cried Vidio.